A report on management practices and milk production from jersey cows raised in Ibadan
In order to kick-start milk production and upgrade genetic base of local zebu cattle at the University of Ibadan, four in-calf Jersey heifers and one bull were acquired in September 2012, from a pure herd of Jersey cattle maintained on a private farm in Shonga, Kwara State, Nigeria. Management at Shonga was based on an intensive, zero-grazing system. The animals were apparently in a good state of health at the time of procurement. At the University of Ibadan, management was also intensive, with partial grazing, fortified grass silage and concentrates supplementation. Health management of Jersey cattle involved preventive and curative measures. Calving occurred within 7 and 156 days of arrival at Ibadan. Two out of four heifers calved successfully while two had still-births. Calves were allowed to suckle their dams for 14 days after calving and bottle-fed from milk collected from their dams afterwards. Milking was done twice daily at 7am and 4pm using a portable milking machine. Milk yield averaged 8.8 kg/cow/day with lactation length ranging between 93 and 246 days. Average composition of milk was 13.69, 3.60, 4.73, 0.65 and 4.71% for total solids, protein, fat, ash and carbohydrate respectively. In order to maximize milk production from Jersey cattle under the humid tropical condition of Ibadan, there is need to maintain a high plane of nutrition, adopt a preventive healthcare system and incorporate a cooling system to ameliorate the effects of high ambient temperatures.
Key words: calving age, dairy cattle, lactation length, milk composition, milk yield